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When it comes to sizing, especially bigger sizes, it makes sense that men’s and women’s sizes would be close.

However, a men’s 2X is actually a completely different size than a women’s 2X, and there are also several other differences between the two sizes.

Before purchasing clothing in either size, it’s a good idea to figure out which size, men’s or women’s, is the right one for you.

man wearing oversized button shirt

Sizing

Although they seem like they should be close, a women’s 2X is usually about one size smaller than a men’s 2X.

A women’s 2X shirt, for example, has chest, waist, and hip measurements close to those of a men’s XL.

However, a women’s XL chest and waist size might sometimes be closer to a men’s large.

It’s important to remember that a men’s 2X isn’t exactly one size larger than a women’s 2X.

If you fit into a women’s 2X and a men’s XL in one brand, there’s no guarantee that you’ll fit into a men’s XL in any other brand.

There is no true standard for how big a size should be, either, so a 2X shirt from one brand might be a different size than a 2X shirt from another brand.

The best option, whenever possible, is to try the clothing on and make sure it fits the way you want it to.

woman sitting on coach holding a sweater

Sleeve Lengths

Aside from an overall smaller size, men’s and women’s 2X sizes differ in how they’re constructed.

For example, the sleeves on men’s shirts or sweatshirts are usually longer than on a woman’s shirt of comparable size.

The sleeves on women’s shirts are also more fitted and hug the arms, while men’s sleeves tend to be looser.

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Waist and Bust Size

Another difference between men’s and women’s 2X clothing is the waist and bust size. Women often have larger bust areas but smaller waists, so shirts, sweatshirts, and hoodies are made to match these measurements.

Women’s shirts tend to be more form-fitting, while men’s are looser, but women’s shirts often have a roomier bust area. The waist of a woman’s shirt tends to be a bit smaller.

Men’s shirts are also longer than women’s shirts, as men generally have longer torsos. A woman’s 2X will usually be shorter than a men’s XL and will almost certainly be shorter than a men’s 2X.

Exactly how any particular shirt, regardless of size or gender, will fit, though, depends on the brand, the style, and what the shirt or sweatshirt is made for.

For example, a woman’s sweatshirt will probably be a bit looser and less form-fitting than a woman’s t-shirt.

woman wearing a loose sweater

Shoulder Size

Men usually have broader shoulders than women, so their shirts are designed to accommodate this.

Although a woman can wear a man’s shirt, she might find that the shoulders hang loosely or lower than intended.

man with broad shoulders overlooking a mountain

Hip Size

Men and women can also purchase 2X-sized pants. Again, a woman’s 2X pant size will most likely be about one size smaller than a men’s 2X.

In comparably-sized pants, you might also notice that the hip area is designed to be wider or roomier for women, but the waist area is more narrow.

Women’s pants are constructed to accommodate the curvier form of a woman’s body while men’s pants are designed to be a bit looser and accommodate a man’s less curvy form.

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Although a woman can wear men’s pants, she may find that they are tight around the hip area and do not fit securely at the waist.

baggy jeans around woman's waist

Zippers

Another difference between men’s and women’s 2X sizes is the zipper on clothing like pants or a hoodie.

Zipper tabs are usually on the right side of a men’s piece of clothing and on the left side of women’s clothing. The same is true for buttons.

However, most modern clothing companies do not follow this rule strictly. This is particularly true for more unisex clothing, such as hoodies, which can be worn by either men or women.

woman zipper on a sweater

2X vs XXL

Many people think that 2X and XXL are the same size, but whether you’re talking about men’s or women’s clothing, it’s important to note that there is a difference.

A 2X is usually about half a size bigger than an XXL and a full size bigger than an XL. As mentioned above, though, exactly how big a 2X, XL, or XXL piece of clothing is depends on the brand and style.

You may also notice that women’s sizes aren’t generally marked as XXL or 2X. Instead, numbered sizes are more commonly used. Women’s 2X sizes are usually between 20 and 22.

You might also see a W after a women’s numbered size. Clothes marked with a W are made to be looser and wider, so they fit a bit more like men’s clothing. A women’s 2X usually correlates to an 18W or 20W.

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